Lacey Secord, her 11-month-old baby Gabriel, and Secord’s boyfriend Dale Broeckx where the young mother keeps getting parking tickets as she tries to care for her son with severe health issues. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Anyone who has every received a parking ticket knows what a nuisance it is.

But what is a stone in the shoe for most of us, is insult on top of injury for Lacey Secord who keeps getting parking tickets while living in a tiny apartment downtown and caring for her baby who suffers from multiple, serious health issues.

Secord lovingly holds on to 11-month-old baby Gabriel during a visit, tickling him and calling him “Grumpy Gabe” as the healthy-looking boy giggles.

Upon hearing a stranger’s voice, the little boy’s face goes blank as he looks off into the middle distance, not making eye contact. That’s because he is legally blind, just one of many serious concerns Secord has to consider for his future.

Little Gabriel suffers from two major brain birth defects, schizencephaly and polymicrogyria, which can lead to development delays. He also has chromosome 7p duplication, which also often leads to developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.

“He may never talk, he may never walk,” the young mother says. “Or, it’s possible he will be functional.”

Gabriel also often requires an oxygen tank to breathe properly and he is fed through a tube in his stomach. And then there is the low muscle tone.

“It’s a good workout just for him to hold his head up,” boyfriend Dale Broeckx explains in their tiny apartment over shops on Wellington Avenue.

All this has been manageable for the young mother and her boyfriend, but what is causing a constant nuisance and expense is parking, which is limited to two or three hours on Wellington or anywhere near their apartment. When they need to get out to go to frequent medical appointments, it’s a big production.

“It’s a huge hassle on the best of days,” Secord says.

“When we go out there is the oxygen tank, feeding equipment, the chair, a diaper bag,” Broeckx explains. “We can’t just grab the kid and go.”

That sometimes means Secord parking her car on Wellington and, unfortunately, often getting parking tickets in the spots that only allow for two-hour parking. (Not to mention the occasional break-ins costing her even more money.)

Broeckx said he understands exceptions can’t be made for everyone who parks past the posted times, “but for someone in her position, they should cut her some slack,” adding that they were told to park on Victoria west of College, the nearest spot with unlimited street parking but a considerable walk, particularly in the winter for Secord and Gabriel.

Secord decided to dispute the first ticket, which city hall agreed to cancel. But that came with a warning that they wouldn’t do it again.

“They pretty much told us we were S.O.L.,” she said. “They said if they did it for us, they’d have to do it for everybody.”

A spokesperson for city hall confirmed there is no such thing as a disabled or handicapped parking pass on public streets.

“Currently the City does not have a policy that would allow on street parking permits to be given to individuals, so if they inquired they would have been told this information.”

At first, city hall deferred questions about parking downtown to the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA) with which the city consults on parking matters in the area.

“The BIA is funded by all property owners in the downtown, and their board of directors is made up of both property owners and tenants in the downtown. The City does not amend parking in the downtown without consulting with the BIA.”

BIA executive director Kyle Williams said while it is true the organization offers input to city hall on parking, it’s the municipality that both creates and enforces parking bylaws.

“We are never happy to hear of anyone having parking issues in our commercial downtown,” Williams told The Progress. “Together, we regularly review parking policies in the commercial core to ensure that those working in the area, their customers and the tenants above commercial spaces have the best possible access to parking. Unfortunately, there are times when standard parking options may not work for each individual person.”

Secord and Broeckx agree it isn’t a huge deal, but they wonder why something couldn’t be done in their situation.

“There has to be something they could do,” Broeckx said. “I don’t think it would take that much.”

In the end, what the couple really needs to more simply care for little Gabriel is a little apartment that comes with a parking spot.

• RELATED: Chilliwack parking bylaws need strengthening

• RELATED: Security changes coming to downtown Chilliwack


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Ivy at Nelson Courthouse to be removed

The ivy is causing structural damage to the building

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

West Kootenay transfer stations and landfills will take essential garbage only during pandemic

Areas with curbside pickup should not use Grohman transfer station, RDCK says

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read